Food & Nutrition

Is Special K healthy? We take an honest look at how good this cereal is for you

Published by Finn Hayden

Unlike so many of the cereals on UK supermarket shelves, Special K is a rare example of a cereal which is definitely marketed as a "healthy" cereal. In fact, Kellogg's (the brand which produces Special K) actually categorises this cereal as a "functional health breakfast cereal" and isn't shy about marketing this cereal as being good for you. Furthermore, on the official Special K YouTube channel, you'll find plenty of videos targeted at women who want to lose weight and get into shape.

There is no denying that the team at Kellog's wants you to associate Special K with good health, but is this cereal actually good for you? (we have the same view about CBD gummies) We wanted to get to the bottom of this once and for all, so we bought some and took a close look at the nutritional stats of this cereal. Let's take a look at what we found:

What type of Special K are we talking about?

To be clear, we're talking about 'The Original' Special K cereal, none of the variations and not the Special K cereal bars. What's interesting to note is that, despite some of these variations containing chocolate, they're all still marketed as healthy. We're not sure that should really be the case, even if they do contain much less sugar compared to something like Coco Pops, but we'll save that in-depth review for another time. For this review, we're looking at The Original Special K cereal.

Front of Special K packet

What are the nutritional stats of Special K?

We'll start with the nutritional information which Kellog's puts all over the back of the Special K packet, and that's all of the various nutrients that the cereal is fortified with. There is no denying that this is quite an impressive list of nutrients to find in a cereal - 6g of fibre per 100g is quite impressive considering you don't really associate Special K with fibre, and this is actually double the amount of fibre that you'll find in the same amount of Corn Flakes. The rest of the nutrients listed here aren't all that impressive though - the Special K packaging makes a big deal about all the vitamins you'll find in each bowl, but it's exactly the same with all Kellog's cereals. For example, a 30g bowl of Special K contains 2.5µg of Vitamin D, which is exactly the same amount you'll find in a 30g bowl of Coco Pops.

One thing we expected to be low was the number of calories in each 30g bowl of Special K - compared to other Kellog's cereals, it actually wasn't the case. In fact, unbelievably you'll find 118 calories per 30g bowl of Special K, which is 3 more calories than you'll find in a 30g bowl of Coco Pops. Wow!

Obviously, calories aren't everything, and one category we'd expect Special K to really excel in compared to other cereals would be the sugar and salt content. But again, we're left scratching our heads after taking a look. Per 30g bowl of Special K, you'll find 0.3g of salt and 4.5g of sugar. Compare this to the same amount of Coco Pops - 0.2g of salt and 5.1g of sugar, just 0.6g more - and we're not sure we can describe Special K as "healthy" in this regard.

Special K back of packet

Final thoughts

It's really frustrating to us when we find a cereal which is marketed as being healthy but doesn't have the nutritional stats to back it up.  It's probably worth mentioning that we do quite like the fact that Special K is made without artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, and is made from rice, wholewheat, and barley. But for us, this isn't enough to class it as a healthy breakfast cereal. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Finn is the editor of You Well and has been writing about travel, health, and more for over 10 years.

One Comment

  • Debbie

    I am especially concerned about the amount of sodium (salt) in this cereal. A few of us check as we need low or no salt (most see only the calories) which makes the “healthy” a sad joke.

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